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Charlie Gard: US doctor to visit UK as High Court case of new treatment for terminally-ill baby continues

The witness called by Charlie Gard's parents to give evidence, was revealed as Professor of Neurology, Michio Hirano

A New York neurology expert, called as a High Court witness by the parents of terminally ill baby, Charlie Gard, will visit the UK after giving evidence of 'pioneering treatment'.

Professor of Neurology, Michio Hirano, who can now be named after a court order was lifted, will travel to the UK for Monday (July 17).

The announcement comes as Connie Yates and Chris Gard appeared at the High Court on Friday (July 14), a day after Prof Hirano was cross-examined on a proposed new treatment for the 11-month old baby.

Mr Justice Francis said Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, could be named in media reports.

The couple had hoped to take Charlie to America for pioneering treatment.(Image: Trinity Mirror)

Charlie's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates want the judge to rule the 11-month-old, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial overseen by Dr Hirano in New York.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say the therapy is experimental and will not help.

They say life support treatment should stop.

Mr Justice Francis had made an order barring journalists from naming Dr Hirano or saying where he was based early this year, shortly after litigation began.

Parents of Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, speak to the media in Queen Square, London(Image: PA)

Charlie's parents had said they were worried publicity might put pressure on Dr Hirano.

But journalists have argued naming Dr Hirano will be in the public interest - and he has now said he has no objection to being identified as the doctor involved in the case.

Dr Hirano gave evidence, via a link from New York, on Thursday (July 13).

The judge said he wanted to hear what Dr Hirano believes has changed since he gave his ruling in April.

Dr Hirano said he has clinical data which was not available in April and he still believes the therapy is "worth trying".

The doctor estimated a 10% chance of improvement in muscle strength and a "small but significant" improvement in brain function.

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The next steps for Charlie's legal case

  • A directions hearing on Friday (July 21) at the Royal Courts of Justice
  • Case to be heard in full on July 24-25

Judge has adjourned the case

Michio Hirano is scheduled to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital in London on Monday and Tuesday (July 17-18) and discuss the case with specialists treating Charlie, Mr Justice Francis was told.
Connie Yates will also attend as all parties agree she can be present alongside an independent meeting chair.

GOSH agree mother can attend meeting if independent chair present

Ms Gollop, lawyer representing Great Ormond Street Hospital, told the court that a clinical ethicist is willing to chair the meeting.

She said: “On that basis, GOSH would not object to Connie Gard’s presence.”


Case adjourns for parties to agree on meeting

The High Court case was adjourned by the judge for 10 minutes to see if parties can agree arrangements for the experts’ meeting next week.

Lawyer promises mum Connie would 'behave' during meeting

Mr Armstrong said:

“Connie Yates would behave properly during the meeting. Chris Gard would not attend.

“This may be the most critical meeting this case has ever had.

“It would present a picture of unfairness if Connie Yates was excluded. She wants to ensure no false factual premises advanced.”

Excluding parents would produce an "inequality of arms", says lawyer

Mr Armstrong, counsel for Connie Yates and Chris Gard is challenging the decision to not allow parents into the clinician meeting.

Lawyer for parents' argue they should attend meeting

But the judge has disagreed:

Judge hopes to give decision on July 25

This will be after the US expert has met with GOSH doctors.

High Court case to carry on into late-July

Mr Armstrong, lawyer for Connie Yates and Chris Gard has told the court there will be a transcript of the clinicians’ meeting.

It’s proposed that there should be a brief directions hearing on 21 July, before a full hearing days later.


Doctors to meet to discuss Charlie without parents

The High Court is sitting today to arrange for Dr Hirano to meet staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital - without Charlie’s parents present.

Michio Hirano MD named as US expert who gave evidence

Dr Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, can now be named in media reports.

Charle's parents arrive at court for the 2pm hearing

Connie Yates and Chris Gard arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice again on Friday (July 14)(Image: PA)

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